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Joëlle Bitton

De-evangelising Technologies

Forms of autocratic and reactionary governance, with colonial undertones and driven by racist tropes and old stereotypes have resurged in democracies globally in the last decade.

In parallel, we have seen techno-centric solutions becoming answers to all the world’s problems propelled from the Silicon Valley by monopolistic infrastructures and countless start-ups under the guise of philanthropy no less: «changing the world for the better» in a quasi-like evangelistic mode of operation. While actually, they have been supporting reinforced modes of surveillance, control and oppression and depleting natural resources.

In this over-entangled context, I want to address the challenge that researchers, designers and artists face, particularly those working with technologies, sometimes creating them, or mediating them. The «RAW» project I created in 2003, then revisited in 2011 will offer a look into possible tactics of counteracting prescriptive uses of technologies. This project realised in research labs that have been at the forefront of techno-centric advocacy can also offer an opportunity of critical examination. Other examples will be mentioned from classes that I teach and address this very notion of values and responsibilities.

Joëlle Bitton is an artist and a human-computer interaction researcher. She currently teaches at the Zurich University of the Arts in Interaction Design.With her works, Joëlle explores a sense of intimacy and personal geography with machines and systems that are usually considered cold or unfriendly. She likes most to entangle strangeness and familiarity together. As such, in her doctoral thesis at Harvard Graduate School of Design, she created interactive fabrication processes with personal data as a way for individuals to have an intuitive control of machines.

At MIT Media Lab Europe in Dublin, she explored the mediation of technologies in human relationships and their potential social impact, notably with the projects "RAW" and «Passages». She also conducted similar research studies on the creative uses of technologies at Culture Lab, Newcastle University. She graduated from Université Paris Sorbonne with a dissertation in history on the 19th-century rise of nations correlated with the development of networks and technologies.

She advocates in her practice for open and inclusive conversations about technologies in order to facilitate access and disruption.

September 26th, 2019, 5:30 pm

Kino Toni, 3.G02 (level 3)



Joëlle Bitton
Joëlle Bitton